There it will connect with the historic steamer VIRGINIA V which will offer excursions during Anacortes' combined centennial celebration and the 18th annual Arts and Crafts Festival.
Thomas Thompson, Jr., a Shell Refinery engineer, will be at the throttle of the coal-burning locomotive, which runs on 18-inch gauge track.
Thompson, a life-long steam buff, started building the locomotive in 1967 and the parlor car last December. He even designed the depot from which patrons will buy tickets.
The project took thousands of hours and required the building of a foundry behind Thompson's house on Campbell Lake. There are 50-ft of test track in the backyard.
'It would be impossible to estimate the cost,' Thompson said. 'I have justified it by saying it represents all the money I have saved by not smoking or drinking.'
The Anacortes Railway will run on 840-ft of the temporary rack during the centennial celebration. If it captures the imagination of city fathers and residents, it eventually may run 3.3 miles on the old Great Northern grade to the ferry terminal at Ship Harbor, pulling up to 12 open excursion cars."
Text from the Seattle Times 28 July 1979.
The above was posted October 2018 and we do not see the train tracks being laid yet, but we hope to see it "catch the imagination of city fathers."
1961, December. Railroad Model Craftsman.
In an article by the late great live-steamer, author/historian, Bill Durham, he writes of the steam-powered McConnell Island Narrow Gauge Railway, located on Thompson's 30-acre island with 400 yards of track, thus far. [This was 18 years before the top photo.]
The line is a gauge 9 1/2" with a seriously worn-down free-lance 4-4-0 built many years ago by a Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R. shop foreman. Thomas ran across it, and other equipment, in Everett several years ago, and bought it. On the island,
The island shop is a rudimentary maintenance and fueling shed, with a small foundry that is better suited to the woods than to a city lot. In Tom's well-equipped main shop a 2-6-0 Mogul, a 1/3 scale Denver and South Park narrow gauge, has its running gear nearly completed. When the new engine arrives on the island it will revitalize an underequipped frontier line that is constantly struggling for survival against the forest and the sea.